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Iran Running Out of Physical Currency, Satellite Broadcasts Dropped in Europe

bendodge Re:Are Printing Presses A Tech Issue? (480 comments)

But Bitcoin is (almost) infinitely divisible; you would just adjust your prices downward and uses smaller amounts. I think the presupposition that a money supply needs to grow with an economy is bunk. What are the drawbacks to deflation (if you're not a banker)?

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Trustworthy VPN Service?

bendodge Re:Or not Re:One good one (193 comments)

Remember Hushmail? Turns out they were logging traffic after all. I would never trust a random VPN to not log traffic.

I'm currently at a university and don't bother running a VPN, but I'd check out AirVPN. They allow you to pay with BitCoin, so that they don't even have your payment information.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't Schools Connected?

bendodge Re:Equal Access (568 comments)

I thought home schoolers would be more receptive. They, as a group, are even more conservative, and are likely to condemn any and all use of IT in education.

As I homeschooled guy, now a college undergrad, I think you are wrong. Perhaps you've just met the wrong homeschoolers. My own homeschool curriculum was partially in the form of satellite broadcasts that we recorded with programmable VCR's (and eventually programmable DVD recorders). I have many younger siblings still at home (10, actually), and they are transitioning some of it to computers by ripping the archived DVD's. The school room has almost a dozen TV's and monitors, along with desks and bookshelves. Ironically enough, my dad is a public high-school math teacher, which has contributed to our decision to home school. (All the failures of public education, religion, etc.)

One of my closest friends here at college was home schooled; his family stored everything on a NAS and piped it around a home network. Another family I've met at church here has three high-school sons currently being homeschooled, and they are very tech-savvy. (Incidentally, they also hold the current world championship for 3-player teams in the Age of Empires III ladders.)

Where are these technophobe homeschoolers? Yes, I'm giving anecdotes, but it was really easy to think of them, and I could list more.

more than 2 years ago
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Mozilla Announces Long Term Support Version of Firefox

bendodge Re:Enterprises Will Like This! (249 comments)

a chrome ripoff

That. I wish I could buy a billboard in front of wherever Mozilla's people work and put up:

If we wanted Chrome, we'd use Chrome. Bring back Firefox.
Sincerely,
Everyone who used Firefox before the versions numbers went haywire

in MASSIVE text as a daily reminder of the old glory days.

Seriously, I shouldn't have to rearrange and twiddle with everything to get Firefox as much like 3.6 as possible every time I install it. What true UI improvements have we had since then? I can think of two: tabs that don't resize while I'm hovering on them, and tab groups. Why was the rest of it randomized?

Also, what's with the stupid launch defaults? I close Firefox when I want a clean slate, not a glorified minimize. "Restore my windows and tabs from last time" is antithetical to the whole idea of closing all the tabs! Can you imagine if Windows restored all your programs and junk from last time? People would come unglued.

Also, we live in an age of large LCD displays. I can spare a few pixels of screen space to keep the bookmarks and buttons I use all day long visible instead of burying them somewhere underneath gloss and shiny.

One last gripe: Tools > Add-ons should take me to Extensions, not the "Wonderful World of Stuff You Could Bloat Your Firefox With." I go to Add-ons to remove extensions other programs installed without asking far more often than I feel the urge to add bloviated toolbars. Speaking of which, can we finally make Firefox ask before allowing programs (like nearly every AV, Skype, whatever) to hang their useless (or worse, Google-search-invading) lampshade in Extensions?

more than 2 years ago
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US Threatens Spain For Not Implementing SOPA-Like Law

bendodge Re:Fuck America ... (508 comments)

He is a Republican, much to the party's chagrin. We had our first primary caucus two days ago, and Paul did well:

Mitt Romney ----- 30,015 - 24.6%
Rick Santorum --- 30,007 - 24.5%
Ron Paul -------- 26,219 - 21.4%
Newt Gingrich --- 16,251 - 13.3%
Rick Perry ------ 12,604 - 10.3%

He might be our last best hope, if he's doesn't have an "accident."

more than 2 years ago
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Do You Really Need a Smart Phone?

bendodge Re:Hmmm (851 comments)

It's quite easy: put CyanogenMod on it and you're good to go. The Motorola bootloader was this past summer, so whatever phone you have probably has a build now.

more than 2 years ago
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Is RIM's Centralized Network Model Broken?

bendodge Re:Not healthy (104 comments)

Couldn't they take Android as a base and built their lauded security and centralized control back into the codebase? Sure, it'd be tough, but it's not impossible. They would have to rewrite a large portion of the OS, as well as their own version of the Cloud to Device Messaging Service, but it's easier than starting from scratch. Messy apps that demand all kinds of random privileges could be run in some sort of Internet-access sandbox that pretends to grant low-level access.

more than 3 years ago
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Google+ Loses 60% of Active Users

bendodge Re:Critical mass (519 comments)

Google+ also really, really needs to open up to teens. I'm a college student, but I still have a lot of high school friends who can't join. I can do all the inviting Google wants and carry their water, but it's unreasonable to invite people to something they can't join.

more than 3 years ago
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DHS Tries To Hide Mobile Scanner Details

bendodge Re:I don't condone this (201 comments)

Seems like it would also be easy resist electronically. Get a vacuum tube and make a high-powered, messy x-ray emitter and just hose the van with it. (Also, carrying an x-ray detector to ensure you have the right van would probably be courteous to innocent van drivers.)

I'm guessing the effect of an x-ray blaster on a van like this would be to wash out the image and maybe induce some concern in the operators about personal exposure. It could also get you in trouble if you just stood there and held it, but I'm sure some enterprising chap could make cheap, unattended units that one could simply embed somewhere.

I wonder - if powerful enough, could an x-ray emitter possible damage the van's sensors?

more than 3 years ago
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Google's Android Ambitions Go Beyond Mobile

bendodge Re:Wrong answer (174 comments)

I would draw a bit of a parallel between your comments and economic planning. Which works better, a centralized planning system controlling every action and reaction, or a neural net of independent units making decisions at the smallest levels? Obviously, central economies tend to stagnate. However, a system where every room has it's own independent sensors and simple decision-makers may not fit Google's data-collection plans.

more than 3 years ago
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Sprint Pushes FPS NOVA With Firmware — and Users Can't Remove It

bendodge Re:who's phone is it? (182 comments)

This kind of junk will continue until the carriers realize the phone belongs to the customer, not them.M

Carriers will continue to think the phone belongs to them until more customers start buying them outright. If it's subsidized, it might as well belong to the carrier.

more than 3 years ago
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White House Releases Trusted Internet ID Plan

bendodge Re:Why not ? (229 comments)

Oops, that should have been "whomever" in my last sentence. May the grammar nazis forgive me...

more than 3 years ago
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White House Releases Trusted Internet ID Plan

bendodge Re:Why not ? (229 comments)

It's very easy to see how this is a bad thing: look at Social Security Numbers. They were originally voluntary, opt-in, and only for specific purposes. Now, you receive one at birth, everybody you bump into wants it, and they are controlled exclusively by the government.

If a similar "internet security number" existed (even as multi-factor tokens), you can bet that the government would soon require to you get one for official online transactions, say, e-filing your taxes. It would be voluntary, because you could still mail them. (By the way, you'll probably need a computer with a Trusted Computing (TM) capable hardware platform and OS (ie. non-free).) Soon the Post Office would want it for your USPS account, banks would be all over it, facebook might offer it as an optional feature, and in time, little by little, online anonymity dies. Eventually it would reach the point where it's required for air travel, passports, cell phone and internet service, etc.

If it's revamped in a few decades for convenience, it could be easy enough to require it for credit card transactions (to combat identity theft, you know), and eventually could be merged with the RealID system (which is law, btw. It's just being effectively nullified by some state governments who missed the memo on libertarianism being outmoded). It would then be required for motor vehicle registration and similar systems.

However, woe are you if you do something to displease the issuers of such a critical token! It would be like not having a Social Security Number, or like having one tied to an E credit score or a sex offender list. Life could be made very hard on certain authors, people who condemn homosexuality (or other up-and-coming sins), journalists who are a little too critical of authority, libertarians, people who use "criminal" tools like BitTorrent or decentralized encryption, etc.

Despite all this doom and gloom, I don't think it will happen. Hyperinflation is a far more realistic fear. By the way, you'll notice I called homosexuality a sin. Imagine what could happen to me if I had posted this using a Trusted Internet ID that someone could report to whoever is in charge of hate crime prosecution!

more than 3 years ago
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What Happened To the Climate Refugees?

bendodge Re:United Nations University, Not the UN (471 comments)

This article clearly demonstrates what's wrong with America's science reporting.

America has no science reporting. It has sciency reporting, in the Steven-Colbert "truthiness" sense. Now consider that the media is the main way that "climate change" gets communicated to the people of America. The media... and politicians. Is there any surprise that lots of people are insanely skeptical of it? I'd even say that with those inputs, calling it all a load of nonsense is a very rational response.

Uh, this article is by an Australian author. http://asiancorrespondent.com/author/gavinatkins/
As a side note, here's a direct link to the map: http://maps.grida.no/library/files/storage/11kap9climat.png

more than 3 years ago
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House Votes To Overturn FCC On Net Neutrality

bendodge Re:Anyone got an English translation? (388 comments)

The FCC's version of Net Neutrality is not what you think it is. Slashdotters should be rejoicing that Congress is putting the kibosh on this. We want a law, not an FCC regulatory regime. Why? Because the FCC can change whenever it gets a new chairman. Changing a law requires a vote. Unfortunately, it's also notoriously difficult to get legislation as tricky as Net Neutrality initially passed into law without having it mangled beyond recognition on the way there.

more than 3 years ago
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Arizona Governor Proposes Flab Tax

bendodge Re:Tax junk food (978 comments)

Berating, or worse taxing people who would require 7 or eight hours a day to get where you can get with 30 minutes of effort, is simply a horrible thing to do. It is inhumane.

No, no, no. This is not the way to do it. The "American way" is not to control people directly, but economically.

Instead of giving poor people checks (and I say this as a current college student who earned $12k last year), give them government credit cards that cannot be used to purchase junk food of any sort. No freezer meals, no chips, no candy, no boxed foods, no white bread, and especially no soda pop. Of course, people will then simply rearrange their spending to to cover the junk they want, but we can at least make it more difficult to use tax dollars on that stuff.

My last shopping trip, I purchased 3 bags (1 lb each) of pretzels for studying, a can of peas, a can of corn, 2 cans of potato soup, a half gallon of milk, 4 packets of Ramen, 2 cans of peaches, and a pack of black dress socks. The total was $19.33, and $5.50 of that was the socks. Now, I know that pretzels and Ramen are not particularly healthy, but it could be much worse. I eat in the dining hall on weekdays - I feed myself on the weekends. I made the potato soup with the milk and added a serving of tuna fish and a pack of crushed saltines to make two servings (lunch and dinner).

While that's not the healthiest of menus, it's very cheap and at least marginally nutritious. However, when I visit my friend's place who's single mom is on welfare, they eat all sorts of nasty brand-name stuff. My family collects food for a food bank, and we tried to give them a box of food every week. However, they didn't want it! Why? Well, it's not the ready-to-eat stuff they are used to. Why does the government give them cash? If they're going to get aid from my tax dollars, it ought to come with some serious strings attached. As it is, it's just a vote-buying system, and everyone knows it.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Best Phone for a Wifi-Only Location?

bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bendodge writes "I am planning on heading to a university in a remote area with very poor cellular service (the only signal is spotty Verizon voice, no data). However, the entire campus is thoroughly blanketed in Wifi. I am trying to find the best and most economical "Wifi phone" or else hack one together. Belkin/Netgear sell what is essentially a portable Skype device for $180. Some folks over here recommend outfitting an iPod touch with a mic and VOIP apps.

I am looking for something that can make and receive calls to and from landlines with incoming call notification. What experiences have Slashdot readers had and what would you recommend?"
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Researchers Build Neuron Circuits

bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 6 years ago

bendodge writes "Elisha Moses and his students at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel have developed a method of scratching glass to grow neurons into shapes that can be used for circuits.

The starting point is a glass plate coated with cell-repellent material. The desired circuit pattern is scratched into this coating and then coated with a cell-friendly adhesive. Unable to gain purchase on most of the plate, the cells are forced to grow in the scratched areas.

The scratched paths are thin enough to force the neurons to grow along them in one direction only, forming straight wire-like connections around the circuit.

Using this method the researchers built a device that acts like an AND logic gate, producing an output only when it receives two inputs.

"

Link to Original Source
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Breakthrough in Holographic Displays

bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 6 years ago

bendodge writes "The BBC reports that researchers at the University of Tucson, Arizona have created a polymer that can have holographs written to it and erased in minutes.

In a paper in Nature Mr. Tay and colleagues describe their thin-film polymer that can have images "written" to it in minutes and can be wiped as quickly to take and display another image.

The material has been shown to stay stable throughout hundreds of write and erase cycles.

The ability to quickly refresh images in holographs could mean that surgeons use them as a guide during operations or as a better way for pharmaceutical researchers to study molecular interactions for new drugs during simulations.
"

Link to Original Source
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Babies Make Social Judgements

bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bendodge writes "
Babies as young as 6 to 10 months old showed crucial social judging skills before they could talk, according to a study by researchers at Yale University's Infant Cognition Center published in Thursday's journal Nature.

The infants watched a googly-eyed wooden toy trying to climb roller-coaster hills and then another googly-eyed toy come by and either help it over the mountain or push it backward. They then were presented with the toys to see which they would play with.

Nearly every baby picked the helpful toy over the bad one.

The babies also chose neutral toys _ ones that didn't help or hinder _ over the naughty ones. And the babies chose the helping toys over the neutral ones.
"

Link to Original Source
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How to Combat Infected Boxes?

bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bendodge writes "As a Slashdot reader, I've been dismayed by the recent progress of the Storm Worm botnet. I'm not a security expert and can't write virus definitions or anything like that, but I've wondered what "ordinary" geeks like me can do to help combat botnets.

We all get plenty of spam, so is there an efficient way to tell the machine owner (probably a non-technical home user) that he is infected, or notify his ISP? It seem like there ought to be a centralized "grassroots" effort to help clean infections and slow the rise of botnets. What can people like me do to help warn owners of zombie boxes?"
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bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bendodge writes "From the Washington Post:

The Patent and Trademark Office is starting a pilot project that will not only post patent applications on the Web and invite comments but also use a community rating system designed to push the most respected comments to the top of the file, for serious consideration by the agency's examiners. A first for the federal government, the system resembles the one used by Wikipedia, the popular user-created online encyclopedia.
"
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bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bendodge writes "http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d= 114073

From the article:

"Apple, Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, the seminal figures in the development of the personal computer, will make a rare joint appearance at The Wall Street Journal's "D: All Things Digital" conference this year. The two men will jointly discuss the history and future of the digital revolution in an unrehearsed, unscripted, onstage conversation on May 30 with D co-producers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher."
"
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bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 8 years ago

bendodge writes "Endgadget published a story about a possible storage breakthrough using nana-sized disks of magnetic cobalt.

http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/08/nanomagnetic-vo rtices-could-lead-to-bigger-hard-drives-faster-r/

A team over in Houston used a scanning ion microscope to create and measure "ultra-thin circular disks of soft magnetic cobalt" ranging in diameter from one micron to 38 microns. According to a press release issued by the university, the six micron wide (about the size of a red blood cell) magnetic vortex is "a cone-like structure that's created in the magnetic field at the disk when all the magnetic moments of the atoms in the disk align into uniform concentric circles." (Whatever that means.) Lead researcher Carl Rau, professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University, said that this new advance may lead to storage densities "in the range of terabits per square inch," and went on to say that "magnetic processors" and "high-speed magnetic RAM" may also be in the works."

Journals

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Open Call From the Patent Office

bendodge bendodge writes  |  more than 7 years ago

From The Washington Post

The Patent and Trademark Office is starting a pilot project that will not only post patent applications on the Web and invite comments but also use a community rating system designed to push the most respected comments to the top of the file, for serious consideration by the agency's examiners. A first for the federal government, the system resembles the one used by Wikipedia, the popular user-created online encyclopedia.

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